ustwo CEO Carsten Wierwille Speaks at SXSW on Designing Digital Media for Mental Health
Carsten Wierwille, CEO of ustwo studios, a global digital product studio that has designed digital apps like the interactive meditation apps Sway and Pause to improve mental health and wellbeing, spoke at SXSW alongside Kate Niederhoffer, Director of Research at 7 Cups, an online source for therapy and free counseling for people experiencing emotional distress. Their session entitled Designing Digital Media For Mental Health drew from their leadership experience at each of their respective companies. They presented a framework for calibrating the research needs of a psychologist with the design considerations of a global product designer with a focus on the best way to best design digital environments while supporting algorithms to enhance people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Together, Wierwille and Niederhoffer discussed how despite critiques of social media’s detrimental impact on mental health, ethical scandals affecting people’s emotions and the paranoia that surrounds surveillance capitalism and the way personal data is being used, technology still offers powerful, cost-effective tools with evidence-based protocols to alleviate negative emotions. From simple mobile apps to sophisticated AI, the way digital experiences are designed provides the potential to make a meaningful impact on people and even reshape the healthcare industry.